Chloe McAree (McAteer)
Published on

London Summit 2024 Round Up


Last week I attended the AWS London Summit in the ExCel London. The London Summit is an event hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) targeted at developers, IT professionals, and business leaders. This summit is part of a series of global events that AWS organises to bring together the cloud computing community. The purpose of these summits is to educate attendees about AWS products, services, and best practices through technical sessions, workshops, keynotes, and networking opportunities.

My day started in the Belfast City airport where I bumped into some familiar faces from the local tech community all looking forward to an exciting day ahead at the summit. Before boarding my flight, I grabbed a coffee and did a last-minute run through of my slide deck to prepare for the day!

After a brisk flight and a seamless journey from the city airport to the conference centre, I arrived at ExCeL London. The atmosphere was amazing, with crowds pouring into the venue, ready to dive into the latest in tech.

The vibe was set from the moment I walked in to collect my badge: a DJ and saxophonist duo, perfectly setting the stage for what was about to be an exciting conference.

The Keynote Highlights

The Keynote opened with Tanuja Randery, VP and MD EMEA at AWS, as a digital avatar welcoming everyone to the conference, shortly followed by the real Tanuja appearing on the stage!

It wouldn’t be an AWS Keynote without a service announcement and during this introduction Tanuja announced that Amazon Bedrock is expanding to the London region. This pivotal move is designed to bolster UK businesses by providing advanced AI tools like Anthropic’s Claude 3 and Meta’s Llama 3, positioning them to compete on a global stage. This expansion marks Bedrock’s availability in its seventh region, illustrating AWS’s commitment to making AI technology more accessible.

Tanuja went on to underline AWS’s commitment to sustainability and reaffirmed the company’s goal to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025.

She also highlighted AWS’s role in training IT professionals and its impact on fostering responsible AI practices, ensuring technologies are safe and trustworthy. She quoted that “Accelerating AI Adoption can unlock a £520billon opportunity for the UK Economy by 2030”. However, she shared a shocking statistic – “Only 13% of businesses can find the right digital talent”

Digitial skills are key to this acceleration and AWS is doubling down on training initiatives, promising to equip 29 million people globally by 2025 through programs like AWS Skill Builder, AWS Educate, and AWS re/Start, with 1.1 million people already trained in the UK since 2017.

The Era of AI and a Look Back at Technological Milestones

Tanuja, then handed over to Francesca Vasquez, VP of Professional Services at AWS. Francesca opening with an amazing Quote:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic” (Arthur C. Clarke)''

Francesca then took a historical perspective, tracing our journey from the Industrial Revolution to the digital revolution and age of information, right through to now – The Era of AI. Through this she also highlighted AWS’s journey from a simple online retailer to a cloud pioneer, now empowering companies like Netflix and Moderna to innovate and reshape the world.

Francesca invited Pieter Jordan, CIO at TUI up on stage to share a customer success story about using AWS GenAI services.

Pieter shared a compelling case study of how AWS has been pivotal in their digital transformation. Post-pandemic, TUI leveraged AWS technologies to enhance operational efficiency and customer experience. With Amazon Q and Bedrock, TUI has transformed its approach to creating personalized content and optimizing customer interactions. He had cited that “We increased our model deployment on Amazon SageMaker by 1000% in one year,” and had gone on to say they will be rolling our Amazon Q to their developers to increase efficiency.

The Community

The keynote session concluded on a high note with a community spotlight, celebrating the diverse and extensive network of AWS professionals and enthusiasts. It was amazing to see that AWS now have 250 Heros, 2900 Community Builders, 75+ Cloud Clubs and 500+ User Groups globally!

I have been an AWS Community Builder for the past four years and have really felt firsthand the amazing support this community brings, both in terms of personal and professional growth.

Ending with a resounding call to action, “What magic will you go off and build?”, the keynote not only showcased AWS’s latest advancements but also inspired attendees to explore the endless possibilities these technologies could unlock.

The Expo Hall

As the crowds dispersed from the Keynote, I headed into the expo hall, which spanned two floors, complete with a fun slide connecting them! The hall had a huge range of sponsors and partners showcasing their products, but also had casual theatres where ongoing demonstrations and discussions kept the energy high.

One of the standout features was the “Ask An Architect” section. Here, attendees had the unique opportunity to engage directly with AWS architects, getting immediate answers to their burning questions. This one-on-one interaction was invaluable for gaining deeper insights into AWS solutions and best practices.

The AWS London “Drive your Data” exhibit was particularly exciting. It offered a hands-on experience where you could step into the shoes of an F1 engineer. This interactive display showcased how AWS Cloud technology is revolutionising Formula 1 racing, enhancing everything from car performance analytics to race strategies. In this stand they had driving simulations and the opportunity to get hands on by trying out a pit stop tire change! This was very fun to watch!

At the Urban Nature Hub, AWS’s commitment to sustainability was on full display. This area highlighted their partnership with the Natural History Museum and how they are leveraging technology to protect and study urban natural environments.

Dedicated to the vibrant AWS community, one section of the expo hall celebrated user group leaders, community builders, and heroes. A giant map displayed all UK and Ireland AWS User Groups, including our own BelfAWSt group, which I’m proudly one of the leads for.

Part of this booth was a community theatre, that set the stage for various presentations by community leaders—including my own later in the day. I took this chance to familiarize myself with the setup and peek at the agenda, excited to learn from fellow community members.

My Session on Serverless Architectures

As an AWS Community Builder, I had the opportunity to submit a talk to this conference through a “Call for Papers” and I was over the moon to find out my talk got accepted!

I had the incredible opportunity to speak on navigating the complexities of serverless architectures. My talk focused on how our team at Hamilton Robson harnessed AWS Step Functions to transform and streamline workflows, significantly boosting our efficiency and paving the way for future innovations and new business avenues by allowing us to offer our solutions through the AWS Marketplace.

I received a wide array of insightful questions which sparked further discussion on the scalability and application of Step Functions across various project types. The interaction didn’t just end with the talk; it extended into lively discussions post-session, where many attendees shared how they envisioned integrating Step Functions into their projects.

Presenting at the AWS London Summit was an amazing experience. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing insights from our work at Hamilton Robson and discussing the transformative impact of AWS technologies on our projects

## Conclusion/Reflections The AWS London Summit 2024 was a great conference for innovation, learning, and community. From the stimulating keynote addresses that unveiled new technologies and strategic insights, to the dynamic expo hall that offered a hands-on glimpse into the future of tech, the event was a powerhouse of inspiration.

My personal journey through the summit—from presenting on serverless architectures to engaging with peers and exploring groundbreaking solutions—reaffirmed the pivotal role that AWS plays in driving technological advancements and shaping the future of the digital landscape. The opportunity to share our successes at Hamilton Robson and learn from fellow technologists was invaluable.

One final thing that I loved about the conference, was the opportunity to connect with my fellow Community Builders face to face and below is our group picture we took, before heading to the Community Summit networking drinks!